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The pencil mark you make will transfer more or less colour to the page dependant upon the sharpness of the point and the pressure applied.  It will also have very different effects depending on the way you make your mark.

These examples have all been prepared on a slightly ribbed cartridge paper, using a Prismacolor pencil which is quite soft and waxy. A harder pencil would have left finer lines and more precise shading but would have taken longer to lay down and the colour would have been less intense.

Firstly we have simple hatching where the mark is made by a

series of lines, all made in the same direction and close together.  

You can see that by pressing harder, or going back over with a

second layer, it is easy to show a darker area.

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Types of Pencil Mark


was originally formulated back in the early days of the UKCPS

as a hand out at shows and demonstrations.

It has been revised a few times since then.

The list of coloured pencil marks is merely representative of how you can get different effects from the way you lay down colour on the paper.

The names of the marks are not ‘official’

They simply provide a reminder of what they are.

You are free to invent some new marks and new names if you wish

You may be interested in a set of printable notes in PDF format


Note :  these notes are an older version of the notes on this page




By applying a second level of lines at right angles to the first,

we get cross hatching, which is useful where

we wish to avoid shading in a single Direction.

Often this is used with a second colour on the second

layer to blend two colours together visibly

It is one step from here to tonal shading, where the pencil moves back and forwards across the area with a light touch and carefully trying not to overlap the strokes too much.  More pressure gives more colour,

and this technique is probably the most used single marking method.

This is often used for colouring over over indented lines as shown here.

I call this ‘Tick’ shading as the mark is made in a single stroke going from fairly high pressure on the point, fading away to nothing.

This, in one way or another, is ideal for hair and fur as well as grass.

Vertical ( or linear) shading is another version of the single line marking.  

Here a succession of strokes are made in the same direction but leaving spaces as required.  The closer and the heavier the marks are made, the darker the effect.  

You can see the advantage of this mark for tree trunks, bark, and water.

A step on from circles is random scribble, which has its place where we

are representing stone and rough surfaces.

We have ‘Aeroplane’ which is where the pencil lightly touches the paper

and leaves again, like a plane coming into land and immediately taking off

Here the pencil forms a series of small circles or ovals of different sizes.

Sometimes these overlap sometimes they are made heavier.  

These marks have a use when detailing foliage representing leavesof various types.   Successive layers in shades of the same colour result

in a broken network of tones which represent leaves well.

And stipple, which is made up of small marks,usually of a random nature,

which enable a more controlled image of a rough surface to be made

And finally, Scumble, which is a scribble action but with the aim of producing an even surface which will work

accurately up to an edge if required.